Thursday Ramblings

As we wind down Spring Training and approach Opening Day, we’re really just going through motions. At this point, we’re just hoping that no one else gets hurt. And, of course, there is a chance that Derek Jeter will miss Opening Day. Great. Let’s officially start the rambling there.

If Jeter is out for Opening Day, that is going to be one hell of a lineup in a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad way. What could it look like? Let’s assume they’re facing Boston’s lefty, Jon Lester.

1. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
2. Eduardo Nunez, SS
3. Melky Mesa, CF/LF (justification here)
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Juan Rivera, 1B
6. Ben Francisco, DH
7. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
8. Francisco Cervelli
9. Brett Gardner, LF/CF

Um….yikes? That is…not desirable. It could shake out differently and we could end up with Ronnier Mustelier in the fold, likely at third. If that happens, the lineup could be:

1.… Click here to read the rest

Throwing it back on a Thursday: The 1969 New York Yankees

So what were you doing in 1969?

If you were like me, you weren’t even born yet. Heck, my parents weren’t even married yet – they eloped in 1970. John Lennon of the Beatles – who were still a group in 1969 – and his wife Yoko Ono were having “bed ins” – a take on the popular ‘sit in’ protests that were made famous in the late 1960′s, the Public Broadcasting System was formed, Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon and in August of that year, an audience of approximately 500,000 attended the four day-long Woodstock Festival.

The city of New York had a big year in 1969. Three of its professional teams won championships in the NBA, the NFL and MLB. But the team that won the World Series in 1969 was not the New York Yankees. What’s worse? It was their lone cross-town “rival”, the upstart New York Mets, who won the World Series in only their eighth season of existence.… Click here to read the rest

Why A Wang Return Would Be Helpful

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The biggest non-Jeter’s ankle story of yesterday was the return of Chien-Ming Wang to the Yankees.  It wasn’t as an official team member, as Wang is still searching for a job offer after a brutal 2012 with the Nationals, but he was there to pitch for team scouts and coaches and hopefully do enough to get himself a contract offer.  The Yankees were connected to Wang recently and scouted him at the WBC, where he was reportedly throwing his sinker high 80s-low 90s and didn’t allow a run in 12 IP.  After the dreaded baserunning foot injury of ’08 and the awful follow-up performance in ’09, a return to the Yankee organization would be a nice little deal for Wang.

It also wouldn’t be bad for the Yankees, who are always in the market for pitching depth.  While Wang is certainly not a contender for a Major League rotation spot at this point in his career, or even a 40-man roster spot for that matter, he does represent the type of veteran arm the Yankees have liked to keep stashed in their Triple-A rotation for the last few years.  … Click here to read the rest

Thursday morning news and notes: 3/21/13

We’re past the halfway mark of the month of March and for some odd reason, I’m still tempted to type in ’12 as the year. I’ve nearly done it every morning this week. Maybe that will teach me to start writing after I have my coffee.

So what happened yesterday? Well, there was this story from Bob Nightengale about MLB’s pursuit of everyone involved in the Biogenesis brouhaha but specifically Ryan Braun. Now, according to Tom Hardicourt, MLB is denying that. MLB VP Rob Manfred said in a statement to Hardicourt’s Milwaukee Sentinel, “Everyone whose name has surfaced surrounding the Miami New Times story and Biogenesis is being investigated with equal vigor.”

Yeah, sure.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports published a piece late last night that basically backs up Nightengale’s piece by stating that indeed, Braun, along with Alex Rodriguez remain the main targets of MLB’s probe. It makes sense since Braun, circumvented the system and was able to successfully appeal a positive drug test because of a botched chain of command.… Click here to read the rest

Rangers Not Trading Andrus

Despite Jon Heyman’s report that the Rangers were planning to trade their short stop Elvis Andrus, GM Jon Daniels says otherwise.

Last week, we found out that the Rangers were scouting Joba Chamberlain. We know that a Yankee scout attended last Thursday’s Rangers game, which narrows down a  trade to a few possible players. David Murphy, Mitch Moreland, Craig Gentry, Elvis Andrus, and Mike Olt all played. Since then, we’ve learned that the Yankees have no interest in Gentry, and that Andrus is not available. The Rangers probably can’t afford trading away Murphy, and at this point it looks like discussions were likely around either Moreland or Olt.

On Monday, in an interview with Mike Francesa, Brian Cashman said that he does not have any trades brewing at the moment, but is looking thoroughly into options in other camps.… Click here to read the rest

Jeter may not be ready for Opening Day

And here we go. From Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:

TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees captain Derek Jeter missed his second consecutive game and received a cortisone shot in his surgically repaired left ankle Wednesday, general manager Brian Cashman said.

Although Cashman doesn’t believe the setback is serious, he can’t rule out Jeter beginning the season on the disabled list since Opening Day is rapidly approaching.

“I don’t know yet,” said Cashman. “The season is starting to approach. I know if you asked him, Opening Day would be a certainty. In fairness, I don’t know yet. He’s got to be in position where he could play a full nine innings of defense, be able to do back-to-back [games] and other stuff. There’s some time left. We’ll see how he responds, but I can’t give you certainty.”

Jeter was scratched from New York’s lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., because of stiffness and soreness in the area of his surgically repaired left ankle.

Click here to read the rest

Yankees and Red Sox join forces to honor Newtown

And now, time for a heartwarming story.

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox announced today that they will be joining up on Opening Day to honor the town of Newtown, Connecticut. The teams will dedicate their game on April 1 to the victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Yankees co-owner Hal Steinbrenner said in a press release: “On Opening Day, we will reflect upon more important things and play the game to honor the community of Newtown.”

The teams will wear a special ribbon on their uniforms and that same ribbon – in the image to the side – will be painted on the field in front of both team’s dugouts.

According to reports, MLB commissioner Bud Selig has also asked the 28 other teams don the Newtown ribbon during their Opening Day games.

Pregame ceremonies at Yankee Stadium will include joint honor guards of Newtown police and firefighters and a moment of silence – a list of the 26 Sandy Hook victims’ names will be posted on the center-field video board.… Click here to read the rest

Mythbusting: The International Draft Didn’t Kill Puerto Rican Baseball

In my book, the most enduring myth in baseball is that the introduction of the amateur draft in 1990 destroyed Puerto Rico as an incubator of MLB talent. People use it as an example why the international draft the MLB and MLBPA are negotiating right now is a bad idea. I’ll let you decide. Can you spot the draft-related decline in Puerto Rican MLB players after 1990?

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Can you spot it? I include Dominican players (the red line) to show what people are really talking about: the decline of Puerto Rico as a hotbed of baseball talent in relation to the newest non-US powerhouse: the Dominican Republic. While levels of Puerto Rican MLB players remained fairly constant, even growing a little bit, through the early aughts, Dominican baseball exploded. This does not mean that baseball on the island declined, just that it didn’t explode as much as baseball on the other island.

But yeah, there’s a slight decline over the last seven years or so.… Click here to read the rest